Neem: The Tree of the 21st Century
Neem has been declared the tree of 21st century by the United Nations due to its myriad beneficial properties. The Neem tree has become a symbol of ecological sustainability both for its wide use in organic agriculture and health products as well as for the tree’s own ability to help with reforestation efforts globally.
The oil that is extracted from the neem seed has become a central focus of farmers, gardeners and landscapers who want healthier, more productive crops without having to use potentially harmful synthetic chemicals. Neem seed oil contains azadirachtin and other compounds that have shown to benefit plants and are non-toxic and able to be applied up to the same day as harvest. In a garden and landscaping setting, neem oil similarly promotes plant vigor while leaving treated areas safe for children and pets.
Neem Seed Meal or Neem Cake, is a natural powder of crushed neem seeds that is retained after the oil has been extracted. It reduces alkalinity in soil due to its production of organic acids upon decomposition. It enriches the soil by providing essential micro- and macro-nutrients and slows soil nitrification to enhance plant growth and increase crop yield. It increases the organic matter content of the soil, improves soil texture, increases water retention capacity and soil aeration, all of which are necessary for optimal root development.
Neem leaves, when used as a dietary supplement, have been found to have antiviral, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory properties and to boost immune system activity. Neem leaves contain bioflavinoids, which are known to control free radicals that can damage cells and tissues in the body. In addition, taking neem leaves or neem leaf extract supplements has been shown to control dandruff and promotes healthy skin, including reducing acne, psoriasis and eczema. Neem seed and neem leaf extract can also be used topically to alleviate these same skin conditions.
Similar properties of the neem leaf also apply to neem bark, which has exhibited anti-inflammatory and antibacterial activity along with combating free radicals and promoting skin and dental health.